Dan's Dugout: Who Knew J.D. Martinez Was Such a Slugger? • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Who Knew J.D. Martinez Was Such a Slugger?

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The rabbit inside the 2017 baseball still has a pounding heartbeat.

What else could explain the fact that two of the 18 men with four homers in a game connected within the last four months?

In fact, Scooter Gennett (Reds) and J.D. Martinez (Diamondbacks) are the only players to produce four-homer games in the same season since 2002, the only other time it happened.

 

J.D. Martinez, acquired in July, pay big dividends Monday night

J.D. Martinez, acquired in July, pay big dividends Monday night

Nobody had done it for 15 years – since Shawn Green (Dodgers) added a single and double for a record 19 total bases in a game on May 23, 2002.

Martinez, a Miami native of Cuban lineage, became the seventh man to hit his long ball quartet consecutively. He did it at Dodger Stadium, not the world’s easiest home run target, in a game the D’backs won, 13-0.

It was the first time a single player had more home runs in a game than the opposition had hits. It was also the first time the losing team in a four-homer game suffered a shutout.

The first Arizona player to pound four in a game, Martinez connected against four different pitchers. The 30-year-old outfielder, acquired from Detroit for three prospects in a July 18 trade, proved once again that scouts can be wrong.

Not only did Houston wait until the 20th round to draft Martinez in 2009, when he was the 611th overall selection, but released him several years later. The 6’3″ slugger spent the majority of his major-league career with the Tigers, who spent most of the summer trading veterans for kids.

The red-hot Diamondbacks were ecstatic that Martinez staged the biggest night of his career on Labor Day, just as the club was opening an important three-game series in Los Angeles.

Why did the Tigers dump the 30-year-old Martinez?

Why did the Tigers dump the 30-year-old Martinez?

Nobody can catch the Dodgers in the National League West but Arizona is virtually certain to reach the playoffs in the sudden-death wild-card game and to host it in Phoenix. Their probable opponent, the Colorado Rockies, are world-beaters at home but mere mortals on the road.

An Arizona win would set the stage for a best-of-five Division Series tussle pitting the suddenly-slumping Dodgers against the raging Diamondbacks. Both teams are likely to reverse their fortunes before the regular season ends on October 1 but Arizona now knows it can tame the much-touted Dodger pitching.

Although Clayton Kershaw has returned to renew his bid for another Cy Young trophy, the D’backs have good pitching too. Robbie Ray, for example, throttled the Dodgers with a 14-strikeout performance Monday that got lost in the hoopla over Martinez.

Dan’s diamond dust:

Five of the 18 players with four-homer games are in the Hall of Fame . . .

Chuck Klein, Mike Schmidt, and Pat Seerey needed extra innings for their four-homer games . . .

Paul Goldschmidt could have an MVP in his future

Paul Goldschmidt could have an MVP in his future

National League MVP contender Paul Goldschmidt (D’backs) missed the Martinez game because he was scheduled for an MRI on his sore right elbow . . .

Complete games are a rarity these days but Carlos Martinez (Cardinals), Corey Kluber (Indians), and Ervin Santana (Twins) have two complete-game shutouts apiece . . .

After reaching a plateau that put them 50 games over .500, the Dodgers have lost eight of their last nine . . .

Aaron Judge (Yankees) is the first rookie with more than 100 walks since Jim Gilliam in 1953 . . .

Believe it or not dept.: Didi Gregorius is the first Yankee shortstop to hit 20 homers in consecutive seasons . . .

Cubs ace Jake Arrieta, owner of the best ERA in the majors since July 1, left the Labor Day game in the third inning with a tight hamstring . . .

In the same game, newly-acquired outfielder Leonys Martin made his Cubs debut as a pitcher.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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